Tinteán and its readers congratulate two recipients of a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), named in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in June. In each case, the honour was awarded for their work on behalf of Irish culture. In his speech announcing the awards, the Governor-General commended the recipients as representing ‘all the positives that are in our community – we see the great ideas, we see the hard-work, we see the love and compassion for fellow human beings – it’s a microcosm of Australia.’
Felix Meagher OAM
Felix is a writer and musician. One of his recent works is The Man They Called the Banjo, a stage musical that tells the story behind the writing of Waltzing Matilda; he has written similar work on Ned Kelly, Barry Versus Kelly, and been closely involved with Baz Luhrmann in some of that filmmaker’s early work.
In 1999, Felix was one of the founders of the Lake School of Music and Dance, based in the ‘Irish’ area of Western Victoria. For over thirty years, since 1982, he has been involved with the Port Fairy Folk Festival as a volunteer, performer, MC, tech, stage manager and committee member. His OAM citation reads, ‘For service to celtic music and dance’, and it is entirely appropriate that this aspect of his work was highlighted.
The Warrnambool Standard asked Felix how he was managing in the dreary days of Covid19. ‘During lockdown and with issues with mental health we are increasingly recognising the value of music and dance,’ he said. ‘It’s possibly one of the most valuable things you can give yourself or anybody as an occupation or hobby. If it makes you happy it’s good for you and it’s good for the world.’
Frances Devlin-Glass OAM
The citation for Frances reads, ‘For service to education, and to the Irish community.’ Readers may be familiar with her work with Bloomsday in Melbourne and with the Australasian Journal of Irish Studies, the Melbourne Irish Studies Seminar series, Brigidfest, and she is a member of the editorial team of Tinteán.
Frances has a continuing career as an academic for the last 50 years, beginning as a part-time lecturer in Australian Literature at the Australian National University and a tutor at the University of Canberra, before moving to Melbourne and Deakin University, where she taught Irish and Australian Literatures, myth studies and feminist literature and theory. Her research has centrally involved Irish Australians, and her PhD was on the contribution to Australian culture and life of the son of an Irish convict, Daniel Henry Deniehy, and later on the nineteenth-century Australian novelist (of Northern Irish descent), Joseph Furphy.
Her most visible contribution to Irish culture in Australia has been the establishment and promotion of James Joyce and his fiction through Bloomsday in Melbourne, now entering its 28th year of professionally-staged theatrical adaptations of Joyce as well as original plays about his work and life. She continues to teach Joyce and is proud to have been part of the team that has built a strong following and readership for Joyce in Melbourne.
Inspired in part by the Irish revival movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, she has been part of a team of researchers, led by John Bradley, finding ways to communicate and preserve the cosmology of the Yanyuwa people of the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Julien O’Connell AO
Congratulations also to Julien O’Connell AM who was made an Officer in the Order of Australia AO. He is a former Chair of the Irish-Australian Chamber of Commerce and is currently Trade Attache with Enterprise Ireland.
Julien is also chair of the Mercy Health Foundation, Pro-Chancellor at the Australian Catholic University and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He also holds positions as director or chairman of a number of boards including the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Finance Council.